DFW Music News

St. Vincent Sets Sept. 13 Release For Third LP, The John Congleton-Produced Strange Mercy

Two years after the release of her sophomore (and breakout) album, Actor, the Dallas-born guitar heroine Annie Clark, who performs hauntingly gorgeous music under the name of St. Vincent, has just announced that her third full-length album, Strange Mercy, will be released via the 4AD label on September 13.

As with Actor, Strange Mercy was produced by the couldn't-be-hotter-at-the-moment John Congleton at Elmwood Recording Studio in the Oak Cliff.

Back in March, Congleton revealed to DC9 that he and Clark were about a third of the way through the recording and production of the new disc. Also of note: Midlake's McKenzie Smith recorded the drums on the disc.

According to the just-released press material announcing the upcoming release, fans can expect the new album to follow the jagged, orchestral arrangement of the last one, which found Clark, formerly a backing player in the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' band, abandoning some of the sweetness of her 2007 debut, Marry Me, in favor of Congleton's more aggressive, angular aesthetic -- and to great results.

Expect much more on this new album as its release date approaches. Till then, read the press release in full after the jump.


St. Vincent, the nom-de-stage of "playful chanteuse [and] fearsome shredder" (NY Times) Annie Clark, has confirmed the 9/13 release of 'Strange Mercy,' her new album for 4AD. The record's 11 new tracks showcase Clark's gift for fusing the cerebral and the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements packing hefty emotional punches. Clark reunited with producer John Congleton and recorded the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX at Elmwood Studios.

'Strange Mercy' finds St. Vincent redefining the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. Countless judiciously placed riffs and instrumental flares, each distinct and unique, cohere into grand tableaus. On "Cruel," she elicits punchy bursts like an R&B horn section. "Cheerleader" froths and boils, with deep and fuzzy guitars bubbling up to the surface, while "Surgeon" twirls about endlessly, Clark's vocals dancing amid a blizzard of notes.

Other musicians on the album include the Grammy Award winning Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlake's MacKenzie Smith on drums, and Daniel Hart on violin. Also contributing were Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.

Since the release of her 2009 album 'Actor,' which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 and was described by NPR as "a surreal sonic wonderland," Clark has collaborated with some of the biggest names in indie music. She recorded with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon for the 'Twilight' soundtrack, had her song "The Strangers" sampled by Kid Cudi (who she later performed with), and has been working with David Byrne on a forthcoming project. Last month, she blew away a sold-out NYC crowd at Michael Azerrad's "Our Concert Could Be Your Life" with a performance of Big Black's "Kerosene" that the NME described as "a revelation of biblical proportions."

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman